Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Another day, another 75% on a man’s dollar

I moved out of West Virginia in July of 2007. I know the first question on everyone’s mind is, gee, Hannah, but why? Well, there were at least two reasons, one of which was that my husband was something of a side show attraction there. See, West Virginia has not attracted a great number of immigrants, in fact, it is the only state in the union whose numbers are actually declining and it has the lowest number of immigrants in the country as well. More Mexicans live in North fucking Dakota. Just let that sink in. So, being Mexican, my husband naturally attracted a certain amount of attention. On a Sunday afternoon, there not being much else to do, you’d often hear the joyful call:

“honey, load up the car, let’s go take a look at the Mexican” and they’d be driving past our house, slowing down traffic, and driving property values into the ground. It’s hard to sell a house in this market. It’s even harder to sell one in this market to a state that continually has less people living in it. Anyway.

When we moved out, we rented our house to a nice family – although we were so desperate I’d have extolled the spaciousness of our closets for human skin storage if Ed Gein had showed up to rent. I don’t think I would have even checked his credit. I’m sure it’s fine, everyone can get credit. My 8 month old has a JC Penny’s card and damned if she doesn’t make that payment on time every month. She’s sharp, just like her mama.

So, when we moved out we figured, hell, what do we need to still have garbage service for at a house where we won’t be producing any garbage and that another family will be living in and paying for their very own garbage service in. I mean, I felt flush with my new job, but not “have an extra garbage service in a location you don’t occupy just for the hell of it” kind of flush. I cancelled the service, it wasn’t hard. My new tenants moved in and everything seemed right with the world. You know that feeling of general satisfaction you get when you’re not paying enough attention to realize that you’re about to get fucked? That’s how things felt for me.

I got a bill from my WV garbage service – Allied Waste, fuck it, I’ll tell you who they are. Chances are you’ll never live in WV anyway, nobody else does anymore. I’m not sure it’s all a result of that movie Deliverance or Wrong Turn but maybe it is. Or maybe it’s that there’s no employment, really poor education, terrible roads, and a very, very bad public relations department. In an attempt to change their image, WV governor Joe Manchin (he’s named after them big houses that government people live in) changed the state motto to “West Virginia: Open for Business.” As though the previous problem was that nobody realized you could open a business in WV. Maybe because they came at night, and it was dark, they assumed the whole state was closed and picked up their industry and took it New Jersey where they were shocked as hell by the lack of gardens.

I saw this bill and I called my tenants who assured me that they had set up garbage service and were paying for it. I figured this would probably sort itself out. Allied Waste’s computer system would pick up on the fact that they were charging two people for garbage service at the same address and the office workers would gather around the error message for a heart warming chuckle before going home to kick their dogs. Foolish girl.

I keep getting bills. Now, I’m past due for garbage service in a state I don’t live in for imaginary garbage that they have been pretending to pick up. So, when I got another bill today, I sent an e-mail to their customer service operation (allied waste…at your disposal! Hahahahaha – geez they’ve got a great sense of humor). I promptly received a reply saying my e-mail was being considered. Several hours later I got an e-mail in which they requested the address at my former abode. I quickly replied and was surprised when I had another e-mail waiting for me an hour later. Wow, I thought, this is the kind of customer service I like!

I opened the e-mail and it was the customer service representative kind requesting that I resend my other e-mail to her with the former address attached as it would be very time consuming for her to now go back and relocate my original e-mail that described my problem.

Now, I’m a helpful kind of individual. Just today, I helped a guy find his sunglasses and a little girl open a door to get out of Starbucks after not buying the chiclets she was selling (I’m in Mexico). I just wonder to myself, it’s pretty fucking time consuming for me to have to call them write them, respond to them, and then locate my original e-mail all to take care of a problem that is theirs to begin with. Why is it, that if I make a mistake, I have to fix it, but if they make a mistake, I have to fix it? Why is their time so much more valuable than mine? I’m smarter and prettier than they are and chances are I have nicer teeth (given that their in WV and all).

If it were one incident, I could probably brush it off (although maybe not, I’m beginning to feel that I might have some anger issues) but if I calculated the amount of time in my life that I have spent fixing other people’s fuck ups and not finding the cure for cancer, well, it’s pretty damn depressing. I could have already won a Nobel Peace Prize or something. In Mexico, there might not be any services, but this frees up a lot of time spent on the phone yelling at people. It’s just not good for my mental health, which isn’t covered by my health insurance anyway.

Which brings me to the fact that I have been wearing the same clothes for three days because the personel at Delta airlines in charge of putting suitcases onto the airplanes, forgot to put mine on. Now, I’ve forgotten shit before, so I’m the first person to forgive a mistake like that. However, what I can’t quite grasp is why it is taking so long to get them here now that they have remembered. We have to fill out forms and I have to call these fuckers every single day and they can’t tell me where my bag is at that moment and whether or not I can expect it any time soon. They are only open between 4:00 and 4:13 am on Tuesdays, so customer service is a bit hard to access. I spent all day yesterday just hanging out in the house, hoping my clothes would arrive. Then, this morning, they said the bags would be coming today. So, my husband and I are all kinds of excited. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, the van of lost suitcases shows up. Our expectations have fallen so low, that we’re actually happy to be receiving our things three days late despite the fact that we paid $1,100. to get them here with us.

So, when the man only has one suitcase, and it’s my husband’s, I think I lost my mind. I didn’t even tip the guy his 10 pesos.

“Can I just get in the van and see if there’s anything in there that might fit me?”

That’s when he broke into a sprint and peeled out. I called Delta, not the baggage office, since they were closed. I called the ticket line and explained the situation. The woman told me that she couldn’t help me, I would have to call the baggage office. I explained to her that they were always closed and that when they were open, all they did was lie about my luggage. She told me that I had called the wrong number, and that I had to call the luggage office. This made me question her English skills, so I explained it again, but in Spanish.

“I understand you in English or in Spanish” She sniped.

“I see, I didn’t realize you were just stupid. I need to speak to a manager, because I’m sick of wearing the same clothes.”

The manager finally got on the phone and began to give me the phone number for the luggage office. “The luggage office is closed, they lie about my suitcases, and why do I have to spend so much fucking time on the phone trying to fix your error? You guys lost my suitcase, I fulfilled my end of the bargain and yet, there’s no apology, no $5.00 Burger King coupon, nothing.”

“I understand ma’am, but…”

“Have you been wearing the same pair of underwear for three days??”

“excuse me?”

“I said, have you been wearing the same pair of underwear for three days? Because if not, I don’t want to hear that you fucking understand me, okay? You don’t.”

“No, ma’am, I guess I don’t.”

If I win a Nobel Peace Prize, and have to travel all the way to Sweden to accept it, what are the chances that my luggage will arrive with me? Hardly seems worth the trouble now that I think about it, I’m going to go work on my newest invention: underwear in a capsule.

1 comment:

suzanne cabrera said...

Underwear in a capsule...I could go for that. You may be an 'angry person' but you're quite a 'funny person' as well. Thanks for the good laugh. Hope you've gotten your bags by now. That would be a really long time to go with the same underwear...